dog lapping up water featured image for blog post titled What Is a Dog Mouthwash? 3 Facts You Should Know.

What Is a Dog Mouthwash? 3 Facts You Should Know.

Dog mouthwash is making a splash in pet circles as an EASY dog bad breath remedy. But before you give any old mouthwash to YOUR furry friend, here are 3 facts you should know ...
How Much Is Pet Teeth Cleaning at the Vet? Reading What Is a Dog Mouthwash? 3 Facts You Should Know. 7 minutes Next How to Tell If Your Pet Is Dehydrated: 5 Signs

You love to smooch your pooch, but let’s get real: nothing can ruin a cuddle-fest like dog breath that smells like death.

Fortunately, dog mouthwash is an easy, hands-off way to get rid of bad dog breath fast while improving their overall oral health. Keep reading to get the facts about this best-kept secret of dog dental care, and what you should look for in a dog mouthwash.

Fact #1: Dog Mouthwash Is the Easiest Dog Bad Breath Remedy

If your dog’s breath smells like death, don’t hold your breath and hope the problem will go away on its own. It won’t! Bad dog breath is often the first sign of gum disease, which affects an astonishing 90% of dogs by age two.

Gum disease in dogs can lead to serious health issues and even shorten a dog’s lifespan. This is due to bacteria from infected gums spreading to the vital organs like the heart and kidneys.

The good news is gum disease is completely reversible in the early stages, and if you’re a dog parent who doesn’t have the time or desire to brush your dog’s teeth, dog mouthwash is an effective and easy alternative to get your pet’s teeth, gums and breath in better shape.

How does mouthwash get rid of bad dog breath fast?

The key to getting rid of bad dog breath fast is to reduce plaque on your dog’s teeth. Plaque – a clear, gummy, or pale-yellow film on the teeth – is unavoidable, as it forms from leftover food particles. Plaque is STICKY and therefore attracts bacteria. Bacteria = smelly = dog breath that smells like death.

As bacterium mixes with minerals in the dog’s saliva, it hardens into yellow-brown tartar, which is highly irritating and destructive to the gums and the supporting tooth structures. If your dog’s gums are red, swollen or bleeding, chances are you’ll see tartar buildup on their teeth.

Tartar is WAY harder to remove than plaque, and if the buildup is heavy, it will require a professional dental cleaning using scaling tools while the dog is under anesthesia. Dog dental cleanings can cost anywhere from $400 to $1400 or more depending on the severity of your dog’s teeth and gum issues. That’s why preventing tartar from forming in the first place is so important, and that starts with removing plaque from your dog’s teeth, ideally every day.

Certain ingredients in dog mouthwash, such as chlorine dioxide, chlorhexidine, sodium citrate, and zinc chloride, target plaque-forming bacteria and keep it from sticking to the teeth. With every drink of water, dogs get essential protection against plaque and tartar, while keeping their breath fresh.

Fact #2: Dog Mouthwashes Are Generally Safe

You share your innermost thoughts, offkey singing, and favorite blanket with your pooch. But one thing you shouldn’t share is your own mouthwash! Ingredients in human mouthwash like alcohol, menthol, and fluoride can make dogs sick, and let’s face it, you’ve cleaned up enough messes. So the first rule with giving your dog a mouthwash is to make sure it’s formulated for pets.

Because dogs can’t spit, every ingredient in the dog mouthwash needs to be safe to swallow. Some suspect ingredients can still be lurking in dog mouthwashes, however, such as artificial dyes.

Dyes (food coloring) are added to products to make them LOOK more appealing, but they carry zero oral health benefits and come with potential risks.

Is dog mouthwash with xylitol dangerous?

Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar substitute that’s grown in popularity in recent years due to its low glycemic index and ability to fight plaque. It’s found in everything from chewing gum and sweets to medications and dental products.

Here’s why xylitol is considered harmful for dogs: while xylitol doesn’t stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas in people, it does in dogs, which can be dangerous if the dog consumes too much of it at once. The lowest level of xylitol that can cause hypoglycemia in dogs is 75 mg. Liver failure can occur when ingesting over 500 mg.

Because dog mouthwashes with xylitol contain around 5 mg of xylitol, a large dog would need to drink an entire large bottle of mouthwash to induce hypoglycemia (a small dog, half the bottle) and drink over 3 liters for liver failure. Therefore, the risk of xylitol poisoning from dog mouthwash is very low. In fact, according to Pet Poison Helpline, the most common cause of xylitol poisoning in dogs is when they eat sugar-free gum. Still, many dog parents (us included) are wary of giving their dogs something that can be toxic to them, and therefore, many dog mouthwash brands no longer put xylitol in their formulas.

Fact #3: Taste Matters with Dog Mouthwashes

This may surprise you based on everything you’ve seen your dogs put in their mouths, but dogs are VERY picky about their water bowls. Dog mouthwashes that use chlorhexidine as their bacteria-fighter add flavorings to hide this ingredient’s bitter taste. Other water additives have everything from rotisserie chicken to beef brisket flavors in their formulas. Cool as a snack, but no thank you in the water bowl. In fact, the most common complaint with water additives is "My dog won’t drink his water!"

Some formulas try to mask bad doggie breath with strong scents like mint, but pets, as a rule, do not like the taste of mint! This can make them turn their noses up at the water dish, so not only does the dog’s breath STILL smell like death, but they’ll risk getting dehydrated too.

Your best bet is to get a dog mouthwash that’s completely free of flavors and scents, so your dog’s water tastes like actual water. You’ll know the dog bad breath remedy is working because their bad breath will disappear without being masked by other smells.

What's the #1 Dog Bad Breath Remedy?

Oxyfresh Water Additive (aka dog mouthwash) is top dog on the market, with nearly 30,000 Amazon reviews. People LOVE it because it quickly gets rid of dog breath that smells like death while fighting plaque and tartar and decreasing the need for professional dental cleanings. Saving money at the vet = more money for treats.

And sure, even though they can’t talk, dogs love it too, because they don’t even know it’s in their water bowl! This USA-made, vet-recommended formula is 100% free of flavors, xylitol, scents and dyes. (The only thing it tastes like is victory.)

Oxyfresh Water Additive is safe, non-toxic, and the only dog mouthwash formulated with Oxygene®, a proprietary blend of stabilized chlorine dioxide that neutralizes the bacteria that cause gum disease, plaque and tartar, and bad dog breath. No flavor coverups, no bitter chlorhexidine. This dog bad breath remedy also has the added plaque- and bacteria-fighting power of zinc and sodium citrate. It’s the triple threat for getting rid of bad dog breath fast!

Don’t hold your breath one more day! Make every cuddle count and get your paws on the EASIEST dog bad breath remedy ever. Your sweet dog will thank you!

pet water additive five star review

melissa gulbranson oxyfresh cmo

Meet the Author

Melissa Gulbranson is the Co-Chief Operating Officer & Chief Marketing Officer for Oxyfresh. A recipient of the Pet Age's "Women of Influence" Award, she’s passionate about educating pet parents in ways that really resonate with them. Melissa loves days on the lake and hiking with her fur kid, Parker, and husband, Doug. Parker (a total ham) can be spotted running laps through the office each morning, greeting every team member. You can find Parker near the treats, and Melissa on Linkedin.